The 2018 International Architecture Biennale celebrates Freespace – diversity, specificity, and continuity in architecture and its capacity to connect with history, time, place, and people. This session extended the discussion to the urban level, investigating how cities play a critical role in creating opportunities and places for democratic engagement.
Drawing on a range of contemporary urban experiences included in a new book, Shaping Cities in an Urban Age, the panel explored how Paris, Mexico City and London are addressing the challenges of urban change at a spatial and political level. Selected examples of city-level interventions of Freespace featured in the Biennale will animate a discussion of the role of architecture in an increasingly urban world.
This was the global book launch of Shaping Cities in an Urban Age, edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode, published by Phaidon. Based on a the 15-year Urban Age research programme, the book contains 37 essays by leading policy makers, practitioners and scholars, offering new perspectives on the dynamics of urban change. It tracks how cities such as Addis Ababa, London and Delhi have transformed since 1990 and compares patterns of growth, inequality and energy consumption of other global locations, including New York, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro. The book identifies current trends that are making them more fragmented, less equitable and environmentally more damaging, and argues powerfully for a more integrated social, environmental and spatial approach that can inform and inspire the city makers who are shaping an increasingly urban world.